Monday, March 11, 2013

Virtual Writing Conference for Teens Blog Tour

Hey everyone,

My name is Tahsha, and I’m a member of Writers Cubed. I’m here to talk about something I think is downright amazing:


Particularly teenage authors.

Did you know that there are tons of teen writers out there? There are. And guess what? They are freaking good at writing! Good chance is you are one of those teen writers, or maybe you want to be but you’re hiding behind your facade of coolness, not believing that you actually have the skills to be a writer.

That was true for me (though I’m not a teenager-even though I act like one half the time.) I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I was embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be. Silly, I know.

Then I found an awesome writing group, (feel free to pause and go to our website if you want to know just how cool we are--I’ll wait for you.) and we started learning how to write together. We attended classes and conferences that taught us that there is more to writing then just romantic tension.

Guess what we discovered through the process? There wasn’t much available to help the super talented teenage writers that we were friends with. So, with our combined brain power, super awesomeness, and freaking hard work…



The boot camp, held in Orem, UT, has been so popular in the past, that this year Writers Cubed wanted everyone out there a chance to be a part of it, even if you live in the middle-of-no-where and even if you are just a teenage wanna-be like me. So we are introducing the first EVER LiveStream of Teen Author Boot Camp.  

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors)  Class: Imagine and Create. 

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother)  ClassBad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy)  Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld)  Class: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel:             Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings)   Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog.

Tahsha Wilson is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. Please visit her website at

Friday, March 8, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Notes From Ghost Town by Kate Ellison


They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.


Published February 12th 2013 by EgmontUSA

The Elliott Review:

The phrase that just popped into my head randomly while reading this book is "beautiful sadness." The prose in this book is so beautiful that it basically feels like a lengthy poem full of striking images and metaphorical phrases. The emotion in places was just overwhelming while not even once being overstated.

I love that the reader is left guessing about the true nature of what is going on. Is Olivia succumbing to schizophrenia like her mom, her world turning gray and Stern reappearing and guiding her ever more paranoid steps? Is she just grieving and her imaginations and wishful thinking are taking on a more visual quality than those of an average person? Or is Stern, in ghost form, really guiding her toward finding out the truth about his death? Olivia herself doesn't know the answer to this as she searches for the truth.

This book also has not one but two lovely boys. Although living Stern plays a very short role in the book, the connection that he and Olivia have is so poignant and real that her heartbreak over losing him feels extremely real (and devastating). On one hand I really wanted her to never forget about him and never think about anyone else ever again, but the living Austin seems alluring as well, though his motives and character are unclear.

The way Stern's murder affects the relationship that Olivia has with her family is also extremely well done. She by turns tries to understand and ignores her mother, wondering why (and if) she did what she did. She's further puzzled by her father's newfound happiness in his fiance, Heather. Her relationships with her friends suffer as well, as she is afraid to open up about the secret world she is dealing with.

This is an intriguing, beautiful read. I found myself reading so quickly, hoping to uncover the truth of everything, and then I would have to go back and re-read what I just read because it was so beautifully written I didn't want to miss anything.

Source: Thanks to Paper Lantern Lit for providing a copy of this title in exchange for a fair review and to Media Masters Publicity for making copies available for a giveaway!

About Kate:

Kate Ellison spent a lot of time as a child, in Baltimore, pretending to be things she wasn't: a twin, a telekinetic, a benevolent witch with a box full of magical stones, a spy, a soccer player. She trained as an actor in Chicago and has walked across the entire country of Spain. She is a painter and jewelry-maker, and has at least one artist friend who really does keep his true name a secret from the world. He told her, but don't ask her to tell you—she's not gonna do it. Kate lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Butterfly Clues is her first novel. 

Follow Kate:

Notes From Ghost Town

The Butterfly Clues!

Open to US and Canada.
Ends March 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Catherine by April Lindner


A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.


Published January 2nd 2013 by Poppy  

The Elliott Review:

This book is extremely well-written. If you know nothing about Wuthering Heights, the perfectly crafted characters and the intriguing mystery are interesting in their own right. If you do know (in my case, love) Wuthering Heights, the modernized story contrasted with the original is just mind blowing. April Lindner has ingeniously engineered a story that just feels so close to it in spirit as well as thematically.

Chelsea's tale of searching for her mother frames the compelling mystery, as she tries to locate her or at least find out why she disappeared all those years ago. She gets to know the moody, mysterious man known as Hence and must determine the relationship he had to her mother. She enlists the help of Hence's employee, Coop, and the two go digging for the truth despite Hence's violent intensity toward the idea.

Interspersed with Chelsea's search is Catherine's tale, revealed to us as Chelsea reads her mother's diary. In it, we see passionate love unfold between Catherine and Hence and painstakingly, helplessly watch as it all goes wrong.

I loved getting to enjoy the story of one of my favorite classics in this re-imagined way. I love the fresh way that these characters live those themes, making it almost more heartbreaking than the original. I will probably have to re-read this again soon.

Source: Thanks to LBYR for making this title available via Netgalley.